Partnerships between manufacturers are nothing new in the automotive industry, but in the last twenty years their number has grown considerably. The latest, just announced, comes in the form of an agreement between two companies you might not have imagined to be natural collaborators.
But when you look at the respective strengths of General Motors and Honda, the partnership starts to make sense.
The next generation of EV batteries
GM and Honda announced that they will be pooling their resources in an effort to speed up development of the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles. These will produce greater energy density and be much quicker to recharge while being smaller than the current crop of batteries.
Under the agreement between the American behemoth and the smaller Japanese company, GM will produce batteries for both manufacturers, and they used mainly on vehicles sold in North America. The higher volume of production will allow both companies to benefit from economies of scale.
Types of batteries
For the moment, we don’t know that type of batteries the companies will be working together on, nor when they will be ready. The most important question is whether they will be the long awaited solid-state batteries, which can be charged more quickly, offer greater range and are considered to be safer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.
What General Motors lacks in experience and expertise in this technology, Honda makes up for, as it has already been working on solid-state batteries for some time. This past May, Honda announced a partnership with two other Japanese manufacturers, Toyota and Nissan, as we llas the Japanese government to speed up the development process for these batteries.
We can conclude from this that Honda brings to the table its expertise in solid-state technology, which it would share with GM; the latter would, in return, set in motion its massive production capabilities. Logical…
What’s more, GM and Honda are in fact already partners. The two companies are currently working together on developing fuel cell systems, which they hope to have ready by 2020.
The priority will definitely be given to electric mobility, however. GM has already promised to have 20 electrified models on the market by 2020. Honda has been more discreet on this front, but it has said that it intends to produce an electric version of its Urban EV concept for the European market.
More details will surely be forthcoming in the next few months, and we’ll of course be keeping our eyes and ears open!